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Local colleges making it easier for students to transfer from two year to four year institutions

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 21, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — For community college students, transferring to a four year university can be overwhelming and even confusing at times.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College are coming together to simplify the process for students.

"I was able to start at Pikes Peak Community College, knowing I would be going to UCCS, and take the guaranteed transfer classes. I had an adviser both at PPCC and UCCS so they were familiar with how that worked. I had a lot of confidence that I was taking classes that were going to transfer, and wasn't going to get into trouble later.

It's been 11 years since Sara Derose and her husband started their graphic design business. It wasn't always her dream to become a business owner, initially she wanted to become an English teacher.

"After graduating, I immediately got a teaching job which is what I thought I wanted to do. After teaching for a little bit I realized that it wasn't for me. I had always worked for other people so the thought of owning and running a business never crossed my mind, but my husband was starting his business here so I started copy-writing. I thought I would books or administrative stuff, because that was my professional experience. We started creative projects together so I started using my graphic design classes that I took at PPCC," said DeRose.

DeRose says PPCC was the only way to get her degree.

"It was the only way that it was possible. I knew that when I got to my upper level classes in the teaching program that I would have to quit my job and take out more loans. I was comfortable doing that because I knew what it looked like, but until then I liked my job and I worked at a non-profit. I needed maximum flexibility, and I also moved during the time I was at PPCC," said DeRose.

Now both colleges are working together to make it easier for even more students to move from a two year to a four year institution. On average, around 1300 students make the move.

"We recognized there was a need for an engineering program to link into UCCS engineering program," said Jeff Joles, Associate Dean of Mathematics.

PPCC will be creating General, Electrical, Mechanical, and Aerospace Associate Degree programs. Previously, students had to enroll concurrently at UCCS to take engineering courses.

"This was not just a local need, but statewide and nationally, there is a shortage of engineers and technicians in the engineering disciplines so it was a natural fit here. We have the ma thematic courses that support engineering degrees so we started to take a look at that and decided there was an ability to meet that need," said Joles. "This opens the door for some students who may not be able to apply directly or be accepted into a typical universities engineering program. We offer a lot of the support courses to get them up and running."

"The end goal is a lot of things. It is certainly to produce more college educated folks in our community. It is to create more diversity among those who are completing bachelors degree. Making sure opportunities are available for those folks who are first generation or low income. Nurturing students who really need and thrive on the lower tuition and financial support. All of this really benefits our employers, and the workforce needs of our community," said Lance Bolton, President of Pikes Peak Community College.

UCCS recommends students begin thinking about the pathway as soon as possible. It can also make it easier for credits to transfer colleges.

"Reach out as early as you can. We can give you the guidance and get you started on what classes to take then when you get to PPCC it can be very easy on you and with talking with your adviser," Chris Beiswanger, Director of Admissions at UCCS.

"Take a look at programs at UCCS, take a look at programs at Pikes Peak, They are constantly changing their programs in terms of adding more options, adding more certificates," said DeRose.

Starting this June, the Mechanical Engineering Associate Degree will be available for PPCC students.